It's been a big summer for Dothan native Ryan Benton. Benton just finished in the top eight at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in Washington state.
Just hours after finishing that tournament, Benton made his college choice, verbally committing to Auburn. "It's a big relief to go ahead and get this out of the way, and have a whole year to work on my game and get ready to go," Benton said. "I've always wanted to do it, but it came down to where I could become a better golfer and good academics and stuff like that."
The Providence Christian star picked the Tigers over Florida State, Alabama and Troy. "They're a good team, and it's good to go ahead and get it out of the way early, so I can be working hard and be able to make some tournaments when I get there as a freshman," Benton said.
Benton says he can't wait to get to the Plains and help the Tigers compete for an SEC Championship. He believes his strong play this summer will give him the opportunity to contribute early in 2012.
"They've been recruiting me for a couple of years, but they've just been looking for that one little spark to let them know that I was the one they wanted," Benton said. "I've worked my butt off, and I've proved it and there it is."
It's been a whirlwind summer for Benton, who's played in tournaments all across the country. He didn't have much time to think about his decision, once he chose the Tigers, but now that's he's had some time, Benton says the excitement is building.
"Today, or yesterday, it finally sank in," Benton said. "The plane ride home, I mean it was all kind of overwhelming, all of that happening in one week. It all sunk in lately, and it's going to be a lot of fun."
Benton finished fifth at this year's Future Masters, and he earned a second place showing at the Class 2A State Tournament earlier this year.